Tag Archives: engineering

List of engineering blogs from top companies – Twitter, Facebook, Airbnb, Linkedin, Foursquare, Tumblr

RC3. org - A list of engineering blogs

…technology trends of the past few years has been the emergence of engineering blogs. They are, mostly, a recruiting tool, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn a lot about how companies operating at varying levels of maturity and scale go about their business.

A few examples:

  • Building a recommendation engine, foursquare style explains the computational shortcuts you can take when you’re dealing with a lot of data.
  • Creating an interface for geofences is a look at how Flickr built an interesting feature.

 

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Girls in STEM: A New Generation of Women in Science

Girls in STEM, featuring young women scientists and engineers who wowed the President and the nation at the White House Science Fair in February, shines a spotlight on these extraordinary young role models and their exciting projects — ranging from a machine that detects buried landmines, to a prosthetic hand device, to a lunchbox that uses UV light to kill bacteria on food. - whitehouse.gov/stem

 

STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering and Math


Unemployment rate at 8.1% – job growth seen in manufacturing, architecture, engineering, and computers

Hiring continued its slow pace in April as employers added a modest 115,000 jobs to their payrolls.

The jobless rate inched down to 8.1% last month, the Labor Department said Friday, but that wasn’t because more people were employed. Rather, the rate fell as more workers dropped out of the labor force (about 342,000 workers).

The April jobs report was highly anticipated because job growth slowed sharply in March after three strong winter months of payroll gains averaging 252,000.

Job growth last month was bolstered by continued strength in manufacturing, which added 16,000 jobs to payrolls, and professional services such as architecture, engineering and computer systems design also increased staffing.

Wages overall were subdued; average earnings for all private-sector employees went up by a mere penny from March, to $23.38 an hour.

via LA Times

144 places to educate yourself online for free

The most extensive listing of free online education I have ever seen. Bookmarking for later.

12 dozen places to education yourself online for free

All education is self-education.  Period.  It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in a college classroom or a coffee shop.  We don’t learn anything we don’t want to learn.

Broken down by subject and/or category, here are several top-notch self-education resources I have bookmarked online over the past few years.

  • Science/Health
  • Business/Money
  • History/World Culture
  • Law
  • Computer Science/Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • English/Communications
  • Foreign/Sign Languages
  • Multiple Subjects/Miscellaneous
  • Free Books/Reading Recommendations
  • Educational Mainstream Broadcast Media
  • Online Archives
  • Directories of Open Education

Click to start browsing

 

// Photo – Ed Yourdon

Netflix drops $1 million algorithm, goes all-in on streaming recommendations

 

Netflix awarded a $1 million prize to a developer team in 2009 for an algorithm that increased the accuracy of the company’s recommendation engine by 10 percent. But today it doesn’t use the million-dollar code, and has no plans to implement it in the future, Netflix announced on its blog Friday.

The post goes on to explain why: a combination of too much engineering effort for the results, and a shift from movie recommendations to the “next level” of personalization caused by the transition of the business from mailed DVDs to video streaming.

Netflix notes that it does still use two algorithms from the team that won the first Progress Prize for an 8.43 percent improvement.

via ars technica

It turns out that all the prize-winning work was perfect for DVD-by-mail where users add something to their queue and, best-case scenario, receive it the following day. But, now that instant streaming is taking over the parameters have changed. Viewers want something to watch immediately and like the option of flipping between several options.

That is why the Netflix updated all of its interfaces to show rows of movies giving you many, many options. It’s a subtle shift from finding the one movie you will love two days from now, to showing all the possible movies you might want to watch right now.

I guess that is the simplest way to put it, but if you want to know more the Netflix personalization science and engineering team, Xavier Amatriain and Justin Basilico, posted a lengthy and detailed, but interesting write-up, Beyond the 5 stars.

San Diego – becoming the country’s biotechnology corridor

It’s interesting how San Diego is positioning itself as the country’s greatest biotech corridor:

San Diego is in the midst of yet another big building boom…which involves some of the city’s biggest interconnected industries — science, medicine, biotechnology and engineering.

At least nine major structures are nearing completion, under way, or soon to start. The projects will cost at least $785 million to build, and will provide the region with about 1.1 million square feet of research, office, manufacturing and conference space.

“We went through a long period of consolidation (in biotech), but now the vacant space is pretty much filling up,” said Joseph Panetta, president of Biocom, an industry trade group. “We’re beginning to see an investment in facilities, and a willingness to growth these industries.”

The focus of each building:

  • Biopharmaceuticals
  • Innovative therapeutics
  • Biomedical research
  • Genomic research
  • Structural and materials engineering
  • Clinical and translational research
  • Planetarium
  • Ocean research
  • Marine ecosystem sensing

More details at UT San Diego

An election year Democrat promise – 1 million more graduates in science, math, and engineering

President Barack Obama proposed $80 million in new government funding for a program to boost science and math education in U.S. schools.

The aim of the new proposed funding is to train 100,000 specialized teachers, who would help to “meet an ambitious goal, which is 1 million more American graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math over the next 10 years.”

In addition, philanthropic organizations and private companies have committed to providing $22 million to help train new math and science teachers.

Organizations involved in the effort include the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Google, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Freeport-McMoRan and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.

via Reuters

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace

Today, October 7, 2011, is Ada Lovelace Day, a celebration of women in technology, engineering, mathematics, and science.

A day for all the geek girls out there. Yes you. You are beautiful and smart and talented.

We love you and the work you do.

Now, here is the life-story of the woman we celebrate.

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace

“Her life was an apotheosis of struggle between emotion and reason, subjectivism and objectivism, poetics and mathematics, ill-health and bursts of energy.”

  • Born: December 10, 1815  to Anne Isabelle Milbanke and Lord Byron, his only legitimate daughter
  • Died: At the age of 36 from cancer, November 27, 1852
  • Education: Mathematics at an early age, later in science and logic
  • Family: Married William King the 1st Earl of Lovelace and had three children.
  • Lived: Ockham Park and London
  • Nickname: Enchantress of Numbers
  • Self-Nickname: An analyst and metaphysician

Her Biography, from the Women in Science section at the San Diego Supercomputer Center:

Ada was the daughter of a brief marriage between the Romantic poet Lord Byron and Anne Isabelle Milbanke, who separated from Byron just a month after Ada was born. Four months later, Byron left England forever. Ada never met her father (who died in Greece in 1823) and was raised by her mother, Lady Byron. Her life was an apotheosis of struggle between emotion and reason, subjectivism and objectivism, poetics and mathematics, ill-health and bursts of energy.

Lady Byron wished her daughter to be unlike her poetical father, and she saw to it that Ada received tutoring in mathematics and music, as disciplines to counter dangerous poetic tendencies. But Ada’s complex inheritance became apparent as early as 1828, when she produced the design for a flying machine. It was mathematics that gave her life its wings.

Lady Byron and Ada moved in an elite London society, one in which gentlemen not members of the clergy or occupied with politics or the affairs of a regiment were quite likely to spend their time and fortunes pursuing botany, geology, or astronomy. In the early nineteenth century there were no “professional” scientists (indeed, the word “scientist” was only coined by William Whewell in 1836)–but the participation of noblewomen in intellectual pursuits was not widely encouraged.

One of the gentlemanly scientists of the era was to become Ada’s lifelong friend. Charles Babbage, Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge, was known as the inventor of the Difference Engine, an elaborate calculating machine that operated by the method of finite differences. Ada met Babbage in 1833, when she was just 17, and they began a voluminous correspondence on the topics of mathematics, logic, and ultimately all subjects.

In 1835, Ada married William King, ten years her senior, and when King inherited a noble title in 1838, they became the Earl and Countess of Lovelace. Ada had three children. The family and its fortunes were very much directed by Lady Byron, whose domineering was rarely opposed by King.

Babbage had made plans in 1834 for a new kind of calculating machine (although the Difference Engine was not finished), an Analytical Engine. His Parliamentary sponsors refused to support a second machine with the first unfinished, but Babbage found sympathy for his new project abroad. In 1842, an Italian mathematician, Louis Menebrea, published a memoir in French on the subject of the Analytical Engine. Babbage enlisted Ada as translator for the memoir, and during a nine-month period in 1842-43, she worked feverishly on the article and a set of Notes she appended to it. These are the source of her enduring fame.

Ada called herself “an Analyst (& Metaphysician),” and the combination was put to use in the Notes. She understood the plans for the device as well as Babbage but was better at articulating its promise. She rightly saw it as what we would call a general-purpose computer. It was suited for “developping [sic] and tabulating any function whatever. . . the engine [is] the material expression of any indefinite function of any degree of generality and complexity.” Her Notes anticipate future developments, including computer-generated music.

Ada died of cancer in 1852, at the age of 37, and was buried beside the father she never knew.

Apple Keynotes Are Inspirational and You Should Watch Them

Seriously, you should watch the Apple Keynotes. Each video demonstrates the amazing engineering capabilities of one of America’s most innovative companies.

I get a lot of crap for getting excited about these keynotes. I really think its kind of silly too. It’s easy to get caught up in the vogue of marketing. Where the PC vs. Mac commercials tell you to choose sides. Then there are the fanatics (yes I am one) who absolutely gush about Apple products. It is similarly silly to fall back on our typical American skepticism.

If you can avoid the pop culture magnetism you can easily see why I like Apple. Every 6 months they sit down and have a conversation with their customers. Yes you can say they are locked down and controlling, but you could also say they are constantly upgrading their products to meet customer needs. Every keynote they address our needs and they do it innovative futuristic fashion. They bring together the best technology, best minds, and best engineering to make it so.

Beyond that they make it a big deal. Every day folks are doing innovative things but rarely do they stop and share with the world. In the keynotes, Apple brings in musicians, top company engineers, state-of-the-art presentation tools, and more.

So, do me a favor take off your gloomy shades and watch one. Then come back and tell me if you were’nt inspired and you couldn’t see American ingenuity at its best.

While you’re at it the TED videos & Google Talks are also absolutely inspirational to watch too.